17 Mar 2020 16:13 IST

MICA students work to improve Bihar’s education and social system

As part of institute’s Urban Impact Project; 109 first-year students help several organisations

MICA concluded its Urban Impact Project (UIP), with a total of 109 students in their first year helping organisations create an impact in the areas of waste management, social change, urban mobility and branding.

Launched in the current academic year, UIP offers students experiential learning that impacts the ecosystem with activities such as problem identification and ideation, project proposal and development, project launch and implementation, and closure over a period of six months.

The projects involve improving the public education system in Bihar, cleanliness and upliftment in Shela-Telav village, branding and design interventions of ‘SHE’ initiative of Ahmedabad city police, documenting the stories of women artisans associated with SEWA Bazaar, vocational training to Balgram children at Shreyas Foundation, helping the House of MG design an awareness and social media campaign on their upcoming set-up called ‘Gammat’, increasing footfalls at Alliance Francaise, working on the concept of urban commons, developing zero-waste management at MICA, and studying the effectiveness of government initiatives such as Knowledge Consortium of Gujarat.

Sharing his experience, Kaushal Upadhayay, who worked for the Shela village upliftment, said: “Although I am a resident of Ahmedabad, I never realised the kind of problem underprivileged people faced until the commencement of the UIP. In the process, I gained important insights from the primary research, learnt to design and strategise programmes to address the objective of the project while spending minimum resources — all quite similar to the way a business problem is handled.”

Entrepreneurship, design thinking

As part of the UIP, a student earns six credits that are broken up into two credits for attending thematic sessions, that include entrepreneurship, design thinking, problem solving for social change and business etiquette. Credits are also given for attending structured meetings with the Faculty Project Advisor (1 credit), and on-ground execution of the project (3 credits).

Dr Shailendra Raj Mehta, President and Director, MICA, said he conceived of the project as a way to get the students gain real-life experience with the design and implementation of projects.

Dr Preeti Shroff, Dean, MICA, said: “We are expanding classroom-based conceptual and theoretical learning to incorporate problem-solving in the real world for companies, communities and institutions. Flipped classrooms, case analysis, gamification and experiential learning are the norm now in higher education. Instead of debating what comes first, theory or practice, we enable students to learn at the intersection of theory, analysis and practice. This strengthens emotional and global intelligence and empathy.”

Prof Apurva Sanaria, Chair, UIP, said: “In its first year of inception, there were a lot of learnings among the student community as they got the opportunity to work with live projects. Students designed the entire project, from the initial stage of identifying the problem statement to executing the project.”